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D.C. Memo: Tweet and desist

A busy time in Washington; Trump campaign asks Minnesota candidate to stop featuring Tweet endorsement; Kandiyohi County votes to accept refugees; and more.

The D.C. Memo is a weekly recap of Washington political news, journalism, and opinion, delivered with an eye toward what matters for Minnesota. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week in Washington, planning for a packed December, Republican leadership drops a candidate and the presidential field thins.

But first a quick plug: it’s MinnPost’s year-end member drive! That means that it’s time for me to ask you to become a sustaining member of MinnPost (if you’re not already). This newsletter is entirely powered by folks like you and your monthly donations help ensure we can keep it, and all of our other coverage going (that includes reporting, travel costs, and supplies). You can donate here.

Alright. Let’s get on with this.

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’Tis the season

Washington is in for a crowded December. The House has extended its stay in Washington to December 20th. Just a quick few things they need to get done by then:

  • The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA). A trade deal already ratified in Mexico and Canada. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised the agreement would get a vote before the end of the year.
  • Articles of impeachment. The House wants to pursue articles of impeachment this month, formally voting to ask the Senate to put President Donald Trump on trial. On Thursday morning Pelosi confirmed this move. The House Intelligence Committee, which has done the bulk of public impeachment work so far, does not plan to stop investigating the president after the vote. Impeachment proceedings continued this week, this time with a hearing of constitutional experts at the House Judiciary Committee.
  • 12 appropriations bills. These bills, which fund government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense, need to pass to avert a government shutdown. Some Senate Republicans suggest there might be a year-long continuing resolution instead, which would set funding to the same levels as last year. However, doing this would mean government agencies can’t hire any seasonal contractors or temporary workers they might need additional funds for.

Something else on the horizon: Should China and the U.S. not agree to the first phase of a trade deal by Dec. 15th, the president has promised to implement $150 billion in tariffs on consumer goods, potentially sparking a much broader and damaging period in the trade war.

photo of dave hughes
Dave Hughes

Trump to Hughes: Drop the 2018 Tweet endorsement

President Donald Trump’s campaign lawyers have asked Dave Hughes, a congressional candidate for Minnesota’s Seventh District, to stop featuring Trump’s Twitter endorsement of Hughes from 2018. Patrick Condon at the Strib has the story.

The news seems to fit with what I reported last month: Washington Republicans are trying to push Hughes, the two-time Republican nominee, from the race and are coalescing around another candidate: former Lt. Governor Michelle Fischbach.

The news from Kandiyohi County

In a 3-2 vote, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to accept more refugees into the county. The measure was passed in response to President Trump’s executive order from September, requiring state and local governments to give permission for refugee resettlement in their communities. The county settled only ten refugees last fiscal year.

Republicans cut ties with Florida candidate

A Republican congressional candidate who said Rep. Ilhan Omar should be hanged was dropped from a Republican party candidate mentorship and support program.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, run by Tom Emmer of Minnesota’s Sixth, dropped Florida 13 candidate George Buck from the “Young Guns” program, citing his suggestion that “we should hang” the Minneapolis member of Congress.

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A representative for the NRCC said that Republican Party Chairman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made the decision to remove Buck from the program. When asked if the NRCC would support Buck, should he be the nominee, the NRCC spokesperson did not provide an answer.

Danielle Stella, one of Omar’s challengers who is also QAnon conspiracy theorist, was banned from Twitter for saying something similar to Buck last week.

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Minnesota primary

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign hired an in-state field director, who will start next week: Joelle Stangler, the current political director for TakeAction Minnesota and formerly of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s campaign.

An October poll done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 25 percent support in the state, Klobuchar with 15, Biden with 14, and Sanders with 13. For some added historical context, in 2016, several polls showed Hillary Clinton with a substantial lead (20%+) over Bernie Sanders. He won the caucus 61.6% to 38.4%.

The president next door

Sen. Amy Klobuchar has two new policies out this week: a policy to deal with the changing economy (tax credits to retrain workers who lose their jobs to automatic, language to help “gig” workers like Uber drivers unionize) and a national service program policy (increased investment in AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps and a proposed a Climate Civilian Conservation Corps).

In Iowa, where Klobuchar has placed the bulk of her campaign and her presidential hopes, the Senator Next Door aims to double the amount of field offices. She also aims to increase the number of staff to something more than the current 60. She’s hired veteran Iowa Democratic political operative Norm Sterzenbach, who previously served as the executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party and, more recently, on Beto O’Rourke’s campaign.

The next Democratic debate will be December 19th, the same week as Congress is set to leave D.C. Klobuchar has already qualified. So has California billionaire Tom Steyer. New York Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has not. The senator has thoughts: “You just can’t simply allow wealthy people to come in and buy elections,” Klobuchar said earlier this week on The View.

In other presidential news, after a few late additions like Deval Patrick and Michael Bloomberg, the presidential field is thinning. This week, we lost three: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak, and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

In other news

  • Minneapolis fire investigators are unsure what caused the deadly fire at Cedar High Apartments last week, but pointed to potential causes: a baseboard heater, an electrical short circuit, smoking or “use of smoking materials.”
  • Embattled San Diego Republican Duncan Hunter is set to resign from Congress after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds on things like flying the family’s two pet bunnies, Eggburt and Cadbury.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is mulling a run for Senate in Kansas, calling several mega donors who have been known to support Republican campaigns.

Quote of the week

“The communist party wants to stay in power in China, and they listen to the public,” said presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg.

What I’m reading

Astead Herndon for The New York Times: Black Voters to Black Candidates: Representation Is Not Enough

The next Democratic debate will feature only white candidates, prompting outcry from an increasingly diverse Democratic party base. With people of color, particularly Black voters, functioning as the base of the party, Astead Herdon asks: Why Biden, Bernie and Warren?

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: gschneider@minnpost.com. Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.